We have been eagerly awaiting the release of multi-instrumentalist, rapper and producer Simo Soo’s new album, Everything Is Going To Be Okay and were lucky enough to get a secret preview. It seems only fitting that this special album is released through Yes Rave on the magical Friday the 13th of April. The release date confirms our intuition of an underlying goth influence in Simo Soo’s music, which may seem overzealous for Simo Soo’s unique amalgamation of hip hop, electronic beats and pop.
We can be overzealous with our references to goth, but there is an undeniable post punk/punk element to Simo Soo. This sense of unexpectedness adds complexity, which serves in both enhancing the quality and demarcation from the typical phrases used by the increasing number of electronic producers. Simo Soo demonstrates skill and experience within this platform. These skills used in combination with an innate ingenuity have helped develop Simo’s unique style of production. This album provides an accurate representation of how many of us in the queer community presently feel. It really connected with us, both as music lovers and also as non-binary people (and we predict there are other non-binary and trans folk who will have a similar positive connection). Congratulations to Simo on the fantastic album.
We recognise the many years Simo Soo has spent dedicated to the creation of their music and the perseverance required to continue, especially when support is non-existent. We personally find this level of commitment encouraging and a useful example for when we are next feeling disheartened. Four albums is an incredible feat and we cannot wait to see what you create next (and for many years to come!).
How did the project Simo Soo start?
Around the time I started Simo Soo I was playing in a hardcore punk band and as much as I loved that, making beats and doing things solo was something I’d always done and always made sense. When the band ended, I just continued the project.
In the start it was much more electronic punk mixed with bits of hip hop that I made on Garageband. I never used to EQ or mix any of my music and live I would just play the songs off an old iPod and flail about screaming on the floor. I guess my live shows haven’t changed too much but now I have a DJ and the songs sound better hahah.
Your new album, Everything Is Going To Be Okay is coming out very soon. Tell us about the inspirations behind and processes that went into making it?
I doooo. It’s out April 13 through Yes Rave.
My last record talked a lot about anxiety, hyper-normalisation of world politics and the feeling of being lost in the world. That feeling of everything you see not being completely real, like you know politicians are lying to you, you know people’s lives aren’t like what you see on social media and weird divide between realities it creates.
In a way, this record is almost the sequel. It’s about what happens when you start breaking down those walls and rejecting that reality. How detached and lonely you become. A lot of it is about starting again and how painful and sad and mournful that can be but also it’s about finding yourself again, overcoming sadness and depression and regaining your self worth too.
What advice do you wish you had received when you started making music?
Just be the most you that you can and if people aren’t supporting you you can’t force them, not everyone is gonna like what you do and that’s fine. As long as you like it, that’s all that matters. Also, no one is born great at being a musician, it takes a long time and a lot of practise but if you like what you’re doing then that’s the point. It’s just some things you wanna do and the more you do the thing you like the better you’ll be at it.
Pick your favourite Australian artist/band of all time?
Tie between Kylie Minogue, Toxic Lipstick and the Birthday Party
IR: We love Toxic Lipstick! They were one of the few femmes playing in the Brisbane DIY/underground music scene when we began playing shows and were inspirations to many! We have such fond memories of having so much fun at their shows. Plus we are pretty sure that Kake is our long lost sister (see evidence here).
Do you have any suggestions for how we can improve the music scene in terms of inclusivity?
Booking shows in wheelchair accessible venues, free shows where the band/promoters still have a budget, booking line ups that include unknown or up and coming acts, encouraging collaborations between artists of diverse backgrounds, of course no exclusively cis white male line ups. There is so much more of course, though in my experience I’ve seen really positive great things in venues here since moving from Sydney. There is some amazing genuine people putting on shows dedicated to making change here and it’s really inspiring to be around.
Playing music is an expensive endeavour. For instance, musical instruments are expensive, it is a large time commitment with limited financial gain (which could otherwise be spent devoted to more financially rewarding pursuits) and so on. What are your thoughts on classism within the music scene?
In this project I’ve make all my music with a laptop and drum kits and MIDI controllers or keyboards I found on the side of the road. Everything I’ve made before this new album was made on a laptop from 2011. Let’s just say I’ve never paid for software to record too haha.
Things seem much more accessible these days but I’m technically a solo act, my version of accessible is borrowing a friends laptop or recording on a phone. Being in bands can be super expensive, driving places and guitar strings, cables, stands, rehearsals, blowing amps.
Though there is more hurdles than than monetary things being somebody on low income. It can make you get hung up on people having fancier things than you. Like how you gonna make your life look poppin’ when you got an iPhone 4 and can’t afford to go to shows or go on cheeky adventures? A constant internet presence is just part of being a creative now and it can be a real dent in your confidence. Really though, the best thing to do is just be authentic about your life and who you are and your processes.
I grew up in Western Sydney and when I moved to the city and was around music scene stuff, it was something I kept secret quite a lot. There’s a lot of shame around being or growing up poor and it’s something that’s really hard to get out of financially and guilt wise.
Having the safety net to explore your dreams is a huge advantage. Having parents to give you those lessons as a kid or entertain your dreams well into your adult life is huge bonus. Although I don’t discredit anyone’s experience, it’s all relative, there’s so many positive and negative factors that affect your life.
If you don’t grow up with the connects or the confidence and hubris that comes with being wealthy (or even just upper middle class) there is so much catching up to do. Also, like any industry, money and connections talk in music. You ever tried networking? It’s ridiculous and if you wanna really get anywhere the deals aren’t being made on Soundcloud, they’re being made at 4am in a bar you can’t afford or a boujee cafe in a part of town you’d have to risk a transit cop busting you not having a ticket to get to.
You made beats for one of our favourite Melbourne musicians, Racerage. Is this something you do often and are you interested in doing this for other people?
Aww yep Racerage is great. I’ve produced for other people before and I really enjoy it, it’s so cool hearing where people go on a beat you’ve made. What other people hear in your production. It’s so personal and bonding and beautiful, love to work with all kinds of people. It’s all learning and growing.
Dream musical collaborator/s?
100% would be Björk, she’s my ultimate influence and musical and visual icon. So many things I’ve learnt about music has come from her so think we could work together real well, approaching things similarly with different sounds and such. Maybe we could make a punk song or something but with some new instruments we could invent and then all the beats are made out from recording the heartbeats of butterflies.
Do you believe in astrology? What is your sign/s?
I’m not into astrology as much as I used to be but I do believe in it to an extent still. The moon affects the tides and if we’re all made of 50-60% water, then of course it would affect humans too.
I’m a Gemini and people don’t usually don’t believe me but I’ll be like ‘Ahhh have you heard my music?’.
Also I kinda dig being a Gemini when there is so many legendary Gemini musicians like Kanye, Andre 3000, Prince, Kylie, 2Pac, Biggie, Miles Davis, Azaelia Banks, Paul McCartney, Lauryn Hill, there’s so many it’s so intense.
Plans for 2018?
I actually wrote my music goals this year out the other day. I wrote out a list that seemed doable, then doubled it. That way I’m always aiming higher than I usually would have.
I’m not gonna share all the things hehe but I want to release 3 albums, play every major city in the country, make 10 music videos and do lots of features and collaborations with other people.
Thank you Simo Soo!